Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Night's Storms

We had a small, but strong, line of storms move thru last evening. They came out of the northwest, which is unusual for us, and usually not a good sign. When they come out of the southwest they move across the city and tend to die off before they get to us on the northeast side.

These came thru and spawned a few tornadoes, but none of them touched down. Closest was about 4 miles, so no big deal.

Grilled Shrimp With Garlic, Creamy Corn Salad

We just finished a delicious dinner. We had grilled shrimp with garlic, roasted asparagus and creamy corn salad. Corn salad is my favorite summer salad. It's easy to make and it's delicious. I use fresh basil instead of dried. For dessert we had homemade cherry shakes.

Ingredients for the grilled shrimp with garlic.

Marinade for the shrimp.

Shrimp ready for the grill.

Asparagus ready for the oven.

Time for dinner!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Kitties

Here is a picture of the two prettiest girls in the world. Our sweet Belle (top) and sweet Macey. Belle is 10 years old and Macey is 3 years old.

Here is our big boy, Harley. He is 10 years old. He and Belle are brother and sister.

Mom's Bean Salad

We love this salad. Nothing fancy or complicated. Best after it sits overnight. This also goes well with BBQ, especially smoked ribs with a spicy sauce such as Texas Rib Ranger's Hot. The vinegar really offsets the heat from the sauce.

This recipe is from my mom.

1 pound frozen green beans, cooked per package instructions
1 can wax beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 - 1 cup sliced carrots, cooked
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup wine vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Use a whisk to combine the vinegar, oil, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper into a dressing.

In a large bowl, combine the vegetables and then add the dressing.

Cool in fridge overnight, stirring often.

We made this a few days ago and had it tonight with spicy chili turkey dogs and a pickle slice.

The Ram

We stopped by The Ram Restaurant and Brewery today for lunch.

For an appetizer we ordered the calamari. It is prepared in thin strips, cooked golden and served with a chile pepper Thai and Rosette sauce. It is our favorite.

Anita ordered the crab and shrimp cake sliders. Mini cakes made with Alaska King Crab and Pacific rock shrimp, green leaf lettuce, and served with a remoulade sauce. They were good, but they didn't come with as much sauce as they showed in the menu, so she had to ask for more sauce. They also came with The Ram's homemade chips, which are always great.

I ordered the crap and shrimp enchiladas, which were the waitress' recommendation. Flour tortillas stuffed with Alaska snow crab, rock shrimp, sauteed red bell and Anaheim peppers, spinach, pepperjack cheese, topped with ancho cream. Served with shredded lettuce, jicama salsa, Borracho beans and roasted garlic rice. Everything on the plate was fantastic. I really liked the Borracho beans and the jicama salsa. I'll be finding recipes for both and making them at home.

Normally, I'd have had a beer (they have excellent in-house beers), but I passed on it today. I'll make up for it next time.

Overall, this wasn't our best trip to The Ram but it was still very good. We'll be going back soon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Deep Fried Biscuits

Oh, yummy!

Take your standard canned biscuits. Open it up (do the obligatory jump when the can pops), and take out a dough biscuit. Stretch the biscuit out flat, like a small pancake.

Slowly drop the dough into a hot pot of shortening or oil. Not super hot as then the outside will burn and the inside will still be raw. Flip once after about 5 minutes.

Take the biscuit out and let it drain. Roll in sugar and cinnamon. Cut in half and add butter, apple butter, sausage patties, eggs... whatever suits you!


Backyard Critters

We have woods behind our house and here are a few of the critters that visit our backyard. The hawk was sitting by our bird feeder last winter.

The fox comes around every now and then.

Last summer the box turtle dropped by for a little bread.

The deer love to eat the birdseed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I collect Fiestaware and other Homer Laughlin china. Here is a picture of one of my hutches filled with my passion. When Mike and I first set up house, I told him I had a few boxes of my collection. Little did he realize that I had over 400 pieces. He says that I took over the house and I did. Mike doesn't have any closet space either. You guys know how it is.


Arrival of the WSM

I was going thru some old pics today, and came across this one. I took this the day my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker showed up, on June 23, 2006. What a proud, happy day it was!

I'll be posting many pics and recipes from the WSM.

If you're looking for great WSM tips, recipes, etc. make sure you check out the Virtual Weber Bullet website.

My first smokes were beer butt chicken:

and pulled pork. Now I smoke ribs, chicken, turkey, pork, and fatties. And anything else I can throw on there. Nothing beats smoked meats.

I have a WSM (now 3 years old), a Weber Kettle (now 15), and a Weber Genesis B (now 10). It's getting near time to replace some of them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Indianapolis Zoo

Sunday the 24th we went to the Indianapolis Zoo. We got there at 9:00am when they opened and there were only about 50 cars in the parking lot. We started in the forest area where we saw the gibbons, the Alaskan brown bears and the bald eagle.

Next we went to the encounters area. There was the cutest little goat and when I called to him, he came right over to me and let me pet him. He was very sweet. There were also llamas, rabbits, and cows.

The next section was the plains. We saw zebras, some type of gazelle, giraffes, lions, rhinos, wild dogs, baboons, elephants and komodo dragons.

Next, we went to the desert area and saw turtles, iguanas, and meerkats.

We then went to the oceans section where we got to pet the dog sharks. I loved that! We also saw the walruses. They put on quite a show by getting frisky with each other.

We also saw sea lions. We had a fantastic day and will definitely go back!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This was our first attempt at making homemade tamales. We used the recipes below:

Traditional Tamales
Red Chili sauce for Traditional Tamales

We started out by roasting some dried New Mexico chiles.

Meanwhile, we got the 3 1/2 pound butt going on the stovetop. The butt cooked in some onion, salt, and garlic for about 3 hours.

The chiles then went into hot water for 30 minutes. We took the chiles and some of the water and pureed that to make the red sauce.

We then got the corn husks soaking. We bought 2 packages of large husks at Meijer. Next time we'll go to the local Mexican bodega to buy them as we ended up with a lot of little husks we could not use. The ideal size seems to be about 6" x 8".

Anita then began spreading the masa onto the husks. The recipe said use 2 Ts per husk. In hindsight (and comparing to the tamales we bought at La Hacienda), we think we should use 1/2 cup or more instead as we saw in another tamale recipe.

We then spooned in some of the meat mixture (the pulled pork and the red sauce) and rolled up the tamales.

We layered the tamales in the bamboo steamer Anita gave me for my birthday. We could do about 20 or so at a time. There are steamers you can buy where you stand the tamales on end. You can probably do a lot more of them at a time that way.

The tamales steamed for about 2 hours. The recipe link above says 40 minutes. They were nowhere near done by then. We opened one up and checked it and the masa was not set until about 2 hours.

We served them with rice and chorizo refried beans. We topped the tamales with rooster sauce (aka Sriracha).

Next time we'll use more masa in each husk and also make some salsa verde to top the tamales with at the end. All in all, we were very pleased with our first attempt. We ended up with about 60 tamales. We used the vacuum sealer to freeze about 30 of them for the next rainy night when I can't grill.

Monday, May 25, 2009

La Hacienda

Greetings! We'll be posting our experiences in and around Indianapolis and across Indiana. We love food and the countryside.

I figured that Sunday May 24 would be a good day to go to the Indianapolis Zoo since many people would be at the Indy 500. This was our first time going to the zoo despite the fact that we've lived here over 10 years. We got there at 9am, and there were maybe 50 cars in the parking lot.

We loved the zoo. I'll post some pics on that part of the day soon.

On the way back we stopped at La Hacienda at 68th and Binford Blvd. We found out about this place from the Indy Restaurant Scene blog.

We stopped there because we recently took our first shot at making homemade tamales. I'll post those pics soon, too. We really enjoyed them, but we wanted to get a comparison with real tamales.

We loved it. The food was served fast, and mega hot. The prices were right. We'd recommend it.

I had #14, a tamale and two enchiladas. Anita had #5 with a tamale. The #5 was rice and beans and cheese and beef enchiladas. Anita also ordered a Texas marg. We also had guacamole with the chips and salsa they brought when we sat down.

Anita really liked the margarita, and everything else she ordered. She'd have had another marg had it not been noon. I loved everything I had too.

The food was great. As the blog link above mentions, the guac was good, but not the usual thick style. Still, tasty. For about $34 (including tip) we crawled out of the place, full and happy.

BTW, our tamales were actually better, sorta. We slow cooked a boston butt all day for our tamales. Ours had a little better taste, but we didn't use as much masa, so ours were smaller. I'll post the recipe and pics of our attempt soon.